Sunday, September 26, 2010

First Aussies arrive in Delhi on Monday

The first Australian athletes are set to arrive in New Delhi on Monday for the much maligned Commonwealth Games.

Australian Games chief Perry Crosswhite said the netball, lawn bowls and men's artistic gymnastics teams would "go straight in" the athletes village despite health fears.

Incriminating photos of the athletes' quarters - reportedly 24 hours old - were published on Sunday, showing wash basins littered with dead insects and waste material as well as stained toilets and broken chairs.

But Crosswhite - who is already staying at the village - assured athletes that their accommodation would be "fit for habitation".

Australian officials have cleaned the rooms, sprayed them for insects and sealed them up ahead of the athletes' arrival.

Team medical director Peter Harcourt hosed downed health risks such as dengue fever at the village.

"Provided you can control the big risks, which we think we have, it's fine," Harcourt said.

"You've seen the worst in the press ... and the vask bulk of it is nothing like that."

The Australian team is reeling from the withdrawal of two more athletes - endurance cyclist Travis Meyer and table tennis player Stephanie Sang - due to health and safety fears.

They take the total of Australians to have pulled out to three following world discus champion Dani Samuels' emotional withdrawal last week.

"As we have said all along, athletes have to make their own decision as to whether they come here or not - (but) I am disappointed," Crosswhite said.

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